On 4 September 2013, the Supreme Church Council of the Russian Orthodox Church met for a regular session at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow. The session was chaired by His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, who declared the session open and presented the agenda. He greeted the participants and said that the meeting might not be attractive to the press but is very important, as we ought to consider the implementation of decisions taken by the Bishops’ Council and of the Supreme Church Council, to have a thorough look at the process of the work being done, which tasks we have done and which we have failed to do.
On Friday the 17th/30th of August 2013, the new Archbishop of the Ethiopian Church in Jerusalem, Mr Daniel Ilma, visited the Patriarchate upon assuming office after the election of his predecessor, Archbishop Aba Mattias, as Patriarch of Ethiopia.
The new Ethiopian Archbishop was received by His Beatitude Theophilos, our Father and Patriarch of Jerusalem, in the presence of Fathers of the Holy Sepulcher.
On Tuesday the 16th/29th of August 2013, the Spiritual Center of the Bethlehem Pilgrimage was officially inaugurated.
The Center is set up at a residence near the Basilica of the Nativity, and the Central Monastery of the Greek Orthodox located within. The residence was purchased and renovated by the Patriarchal Commissioner in Bethlehem, His Eminence Theophylaktos, Archbishop of Jordan.
The Center is intended to include various teaching and educational departments for the youth of the Arab-speaking congregation in Bethlehem (Rum Orthodox), i.e. courses on the History of the Holy Land, the Church of Jerusalem, the Holy Sites, Byzantine Music, computer literacy, foreign languages etc.
On Wednesday the 15th/28th of August 2013, the feast of the Dormition of Theotokos was celebrated by the Patriarchate of Jerusalem at the Bier of the Mother of God.
Vespers was first held on the evening of the feast, led by the Most Reverend Joachim, Metropolitan of Zambia at the Patriarchate of Alexandria. The cantor of the Church of the Resurrection, Archimandrite f. Aristovoulos chanted the Vespers’ troparia in the Byzantine mode, especially so the Doxastikon “With a sign by the authority of God” within the eight modes (octoechos), whilst the faithful people piously observed, placing lit candles along the steps of the church.
"Dormition ... None born on earth are so glorified, so elevated, so exalted, as the Mother of Christ our God. When we have the great saints pray for intercession to God, we beseech them, "pray to God for us;" but when we look to her as Queen of the Almighty, we beseech her, "Most Holy Mother of God save us." And the Church, present in the great and glorious day of her triumph speaks of her as "Mother of God constant in prayer. . .” Therefore, no matter how sinful and unworthy we may be, we will gladly say that she is the Mother of the human race, and the Heavenly Mother of us all." Metropolitan Filaret (Voznesensky)
Last Wednesday, the Dormition of the Virgin Mary Parish in Dandenong celebrated its Patronal Feast Day. On Tuesday, 27 August 2013, the Vigil Service was celebrated with the placing on the tomb of the shroud of the Mother of God. On Wednesday, 28 August 2013, a solemn service began with welcoming His Grace Bishop Irinej of the Serbian Orthodox Metropolitanate of Australia and New Zealand. With the blessing of His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion, the festal Hierarchical Divine Liturgy was celebrated by His Grace Bishop Irinej. Concelebrating clergy came from Melbourne, Geelong, Sydney and Adelaide. Before the Divine Liturgy, the Lesser Blessing of Water took place, with the rite of the Patronal Procession solemnised following the Divine Liturgy. It was gratifying to note that in spite of the duration of the services, the church was filled with worshipers from all Orthodox traditions. There were many communicants, especially children.